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number, prostrate, and trembling before him: CHAP. acknowledging at his feet that he is able to I. send them into the deep, and to anticipate the time, in which he will constrain them to cast themselves into it: demanding, as a grace, the permission of entering the unclean animals, and confefsing thereby their dependence, degradation, and proneness to the greatest impurity.
I admire with what goodness Jesus Christ protected a man whom these cruel beasts had, it seems, so long in subjection; whom they detained, remote from all succour, in solitudes; whom they made incessantly to cry out, to have involuntary motions, to cut himself with stones, and against whom a whole legion, unfettered, vented their malice, but without having the power of killing him, or of casting him headlong into the sea, whither these furies hurried the whole defenceless herd of swine.
I admire the compassion which Jesus Christ Thewed to that seep whom he went in search of in the midst of fo many wolves, and even carried, as it were, in his bosom, thinking his labour sufficiently paid by saving him, in spite of the tempest which seemed to oppose, and in spite of all hell which conípired his ruin: consenting without any reluctance, to relinquish the country, after so eminent an act of charity, and being defirous, that this fingular circumstance, which solely depended on himself, should demonstrate to future ages his love towards the least Vol. III.
Part of his elect, and to those who seemed the most
Why the possessed were so numerous
at the time of Jesus Christ and his apostles, and why so frequent mention is made of their deliverance in
ibe gospel. W
HAT I am now entering upon, obli
ges me to account for an affair, which greatly embarrasses fome men, who are very far from espousing incredulity, but not fufficiently grounded in religion, and who are little moved by the various curès effected on the poffefsed; with which the gospel abounds.
The world for a great while had paid adoration to devils without knowing it, and these lying spirits had usurped the worship due to God alone. In every part of the earth they had temples and altars; and, under false names, they assumed to themselves the sovereignty of heaven and earth, and all nature. Jesus Chrift came to regain his kingdom, and to banish the usurper. He came, as he foretold by his prophets, to destroy the wicked by the breath of his mouth. It was necessary to convince mankind, whom the evil spirit had seduced, of his malice and weakness, and he had no shorter, nor more sensible means for it, than to admit these evil spirits to enter into the bodies of some
men, in whom they only caused terrib'e con-CHAP.
It was upon that account, that when Jesus Christ was desirous to make himself known, he likewise permitted the devils to do the same ; for, by allowing them, in some measure, to imitate his incarnation, he caught them in the same snare which they had laid for man; and he made use of the very prey, which they were so greedy of, to retain them in a state of captivity, in order that they might become visible in one sense, and corporeal by uniting themselves to man with an intent to hurt him; and that being held with the chains which their malice had invented, they might be brought before their judge and master, publickly condemned by him as impure spirits, and afterwards expelled the internal temple, which by their usurpation they defiled, and from all the external temples, where they concealed, under a false majesty, the most shameful disgrace, and the deepest misery that could befall a creature.
By this means, the lawful king, and the usurper, became very easy to be distinguished. For the one only consulted how to be beneficial to man: the other, only how to torment this fame man, after he had deluded him. The one had only to appear and to speak, to put his D 2
Part rival to flight: and the other, in spite of his IV. pride, was constrained to fall down before his wsovereign, whose name he had-usurped, and to
confess before those whom he had deceived, that he had no power, not even even over the uncleannest beasts; that no corner of the earth was under his dominion, and that his truc place was the abyss.
Every possessed person * presented to Jesus Christ, was a sensible proof of these effential points of religion. One, all at once, became deaf, blind and dumb by a single devil. Another was driven t sometimes into the fire, sometimes into the water, in order to destroy him. Another endured great pains ; another was bowed together with violence, so that he could not look up to the heavens. All these unfortunate people came to Jesus Christ with these cruel fymptoms, who cured them and fet them free, either by his word, or by the touch of his hands; and, when he had made the devils confess his name and divinity, he afterwards deprived them of the faculty of speech, as lying Ipirits, who in publishing the truth dishonoured it,
It is thus that Jesus Christ, according to the word of the apostle, signalized all his steps by some I good offices, and by curing all those that were oppressed of the devil. But he did not limit his compassion to these external
graces : * Matth. ix. 32. Mark iv. 32. + Mark ix. 21.
Luke xiii. 4.-16. I “He went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil.” Acts x. 38.
Matth. XV. 22.
Luke iv. 41.
graces : he made use of it only to point out CHAP. the difference between a lawful king and a II. tyrant, and to shew that he came to destroy the work of the devil, to drive him out from the heart of man, to deprive him of his weapons by eradicating concupifcence; and by diffusing light and charity on every fide, to annihilate his power founded on ignorance and self-love.
The opposition of the two kingdoms would have been less evident to the generality of
men, were it not for the extreme difference which the deliverance of the possessed demonstrated between the two kings. And this is the reafon why poffeffions continued to be frequent after the resurrection of Jesus Chrift, in order that the apostles and their disciples should publish to the world, and especially to the Gentiles, how great his power was over || those spirits, who had hitherto deluded mankind. For they were not contented to cast them out in the name of Jesus Christ, but they very often obliged them to confess that they were feducing spirits ; that they had to that time concealed themselves under the names of false di
3 # " For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he “ might deftroy the works of the devil." John iï. 8.
Omnis hæc noftra in illos (dæmones) dominatio & poteftas de nominatione Christi valet, & de commemoratione eorum quæ fibi a Deo per arbitrum Christum imminentia expectant. Christum timentes in Deo, & Deum in Chrifto, fubjiciuntur servis Dei & Christi. Ita de contactu deque afflatu noftro, contemplatione & representatione ignis illius correpti, etiam de corporibus noftra imperio excedunt inviti & dolentes, & vobis præfentibus erubercentes ... Credite illis cum verum de fe loquuntur, qui mentientibus creditis. Nemo ad suum dedecus mentitur. Tertull. Apolog. c. 23.